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North Vancouver council advances 330 homes at Cap and Marine

The large-scale development proposal got council debating: Is this good climate policy?
2050-2070 Marine Drive IBI Group web
IBI Group's proposed 27-storey tower and accompanying smaller buildings on Marine Drive in North Vancouver will go to a public hearing tentatively scheduled for May 31.

One of the largest residential redevelopment projects to come before the District of North Vancouver in the last term of council is going to a public hearing.

Developer IBI group has applied to build 330 new homes plus a small commercial space and new public park at 2050-2070 Marine Dr., where the Travelodge and Pho Japolo restaurant currently sit.

The proposal includes 77 market rentals and 158 strata homes in a 27-storey tower with adjacent townhouses, 54 strata condos in a nine-storey building with adjacent townhouses, and 41 below-market rental homes in a four-storey building.

The project has been on the district docket for six years. The original proposal was for entirely market strata homes.

“This project has already been altered, I believe, to the benefit of the community in responding to many of the priorities set out by the council,” said Mayor Mike Little, in casting his vote in favour. “I do think that it warrants taking the matter to the public and seeing what the neighbourhood has to say.”

The vote to send the project to a public hearing passed 4-3.

Much of the debate centred around whether advancing the project would be good for the climate.

“The construction of a 27-storey concrete tower with 373 parking stalls in an already congested area of the district can only seen as poor climate policy. Concrete highrises and more cars are not my green vision,” said Coun. Jim Hanson.

Couns. Lisa Muri and Betty Forbes agreed, and joined Hanson in voting against advancing the project. They also cited the cost of the new homes, traffic congestion and the lack of family doctors to accommodate the buildings' residents.

Coun. Mathew Bond countered the buildings would be a 10-minute bus ride or 15-minute bike ride to downtown Vancouver, which is far better than having people commute in from Langley, Maple Ridge or Squamish, in vehicles.

“It's better to put more people close to the jobs – even if it's in a concrete tower – than to force people to move 50 or 100 kilometres away and drive their cars that far,” he said.

Coun. Megan Curren, who frequently moves council toward more aggressive climate policies agreed, and said the district needs to target carbon emissions from the demand side of the equation.

“Land use planning [is] one of the most effective things we can do to reduce both energy and earth consumption,” she said.

The public hearing is tentatively scheduled for May 31.

The only larger developments advanced by the current council included 341 units of housing and a coffee shop at the former Seymour Estates complex on Mount Seymour Parkway and IBI Group’s proposal for 420 homes and a grocery store on lower Mountain Highway in the Lynn Creek town centre.